Biodiversity and Marine Science
The research focus on biodiversity and marine science originated from the combination of the expert knowledge at the Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences (IBU) and the Institute for Chemistry and Biology of the Marine Environment (ICBM). The strength of the IBU relates to its research on phenotypic, physiological, sensory and genetic adaptations to variations in environmental conditions, as well as the analysis of population dynamics and patterns of occurrence of many species with their functional characteristics in relation to resources, disturbances and other environmental factors. The ICBM is renowned for its interdisciplinary environmental research with a focus on marine fluxes of matter and energy and the functional role of marine biodiversity. This research takes place worldwide.
Biodiversity research deals with the adaptive capacity of organisms to the environmental conditions of their habitats on different biological, temporal and spatial scales. This ranges from the molecular biological level to global distribution patterns of many species and their phenotypic and functional variance. Biodiversity also deals with the analysis of interactions between species and the functional role of biodiversity in the ecosystem. Empirical and theoretical approaches are used to study the evolutionary and ecological processes that govern current patterns of terrestrial and marine biodiversity and their dynamics in times of rapid global change. The synthesis of terrestrial and marine biodiversity research is a unique feature at our university, which is exemplified by the DFG-funded research group "Spatial community ecology in highly dynamic landscapes: from island biogeography to metaecosystems [DynaCom]".
A decidedly interdisciplinary approach also characterizes the marine sciences in Oldenburg, combining microbiological, ecological, geochemical, physical and modelling approaches. With the system analysis of the Wadden Sea, a model region for other coastal regions, Oldenburg's marine research has created a unique baseline for coastal research that is perceived both nationally and internationally. Due to its role as the home institute of the research vessel “Sonne", the ICBM is increasingly devoting itself to questions of ocean research. Central to this is the Transregio SFB TRR 51 with a focus on the functional role of the marine bacteria group Roseobacter, as well as other projects that address the composition of organic compounds in the ocean and the consequences of global environmental change.
The research focus is embedded in the research landscape of the Northwest region, with various research institutions contributing expertise in the fields of biodiversity research, ecology, bird migration research and evolutionary biology. These include the Helmholtz Institute for Functional Marine Biodiversity at the University of Oldenburg (HIFMB), the Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology (MPI-MM, Bremen), the Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research (AWI, Bremerhaven), the Institute Senckenberg am Meer (SaM Wilhelmshaven), the Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Ecology (ZMT, Bremen) and the Institute of Avian Research "Vogelwarte Helgoland" (IfV, Wilhelmshaven). The regional cooperation manifests itself through two established Junior Research Groups at the HIFMB (Molecular Biodiversity, S. Laakmann, and Marine Political Ecology, NN) and established cooperation professorships with Helmholtz Centres (NN Alkalinity of the Seas with HZG, B. Meyer, K. Peters, T. Gross, NN Marine Conservation, NN Ecosystem Data Science with AWI) and Leibniz Institutes (Ingrid Kröncke, Benthic Ecology with SaM; Oscar Puebla, Fish Ecology, ZMT). Overall, there are only a few universities in Germany with a comparable number of professorships in the field of biodiversity research and ecology.